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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Discover the World Through Another Language

Though it’s only a few days after Thanksgiving, summer is just around the corner. Now is the time to find those summer programs that will engage you in ways you haven’t imagined. Deadlines are approaching and applications need to be filled out and recommendations gotten.
I have been working hard to get my French back and so I am a big fan of language programs.

Last summer, I participated in a French Immersion program sponsored by Middlebury College, the preeminent place for learning languages. My program was hosted at Oberlin College. If French is not your language, how about Mandarin Chinese, Arabic, Spanish and Italian? You are required to take a pledge that you will only speak your selected foreign language all the time, for a month. It is a challenge, but the payoff in terms of you developing your foreign language skills is phenomenal.

I like the fact that the Middlebury-Monterey Language Academy hosts its programs on different college campuses around the United States. This gives you the opportunity to get a sense of another college and what it has to offer. I love Oberlin and it is absolutely gorgeous and quaint and has one of the best music conservatories in the country. This program is amazing and empowers you to take on almost any task. And the friendships that are made and ones that I know will be for a lifetime. At first, I was definitely worried about going to a new place and meeting new people and a speaking a language all-day long that I was not fluent in, but the staff at MMLA and the way the program is organized makes you feel you can do it.

Here is the link to information about MMLA’s language immersion programs. I’ll share information about other programs, so keep reading.

As I progress in my French learning, I am learning just how big and small the world is and how exciting it is to learn about it. I am a big fan of music from France’s West African immigrant communities. Also, to my surprise, I am getting into foreign films in French. Now, one of my favorite directors is Ousmane Sembene, who died in 2007. He was from Senegal. I love one of his early films called Black Girl. Learn about him and his amazing insights. You can rent his films on Netflix. Here is a link about Black Girl.
Photo of Man- Ousmane Sembene

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